British retailer Marks & Spencer has today (Wednesday, November 8) reported a profit before tax of £360.2 million for the first half of 2023, driven by a surge in food sales.

This is a 75% increase on the same period last year when profit before tax and adjusting items stood at £205.5 million.

Statutory revenue at the company stood at £6.1 billion, up 10.8% on the £5.5 billion in the comparable period in 2022.

Food sales

The retailer has said that the “strong” financial results have come as a result of its “Reshaping M&S Strategy”.

In the 26 weeks up to September 30, 2023, Marks & Spencer said that food sales were up by 14.7%, operating profit for this segment of the business was £164.9 million, up from £171.4 million last year.

The company said the boost in food sales came as a result of “product innovation and quality upgrades”.

The Marks & Spencer clothing and home division saw a 5.7% jump in sales, with adjusted operating profit of £223.4 million.

The retailer said that its structural cost reduction programme is “on track”, making savings of over £100 million in the first half of 2023.

It said that there is “more to do to drive online growth and improve returns on data, digital and technology investment”.

Marks & Spencer

Commenting on the financial results, Stuart Machin, chief executive of Marks & Spencer said the company has maintained its “relentless focus on trusted value”.

“In food, we delivered over 500 quality upgrades and invested over £30 million in price, lowering the price of 200 products and locking prices on 150 customer favourites,” he said.

Machin said that both the food and clothing and home businesses had outperformed market expectations.

“We have further strengthened our balance sheet and net debt position, with an interim dividend payment being made to shareholders for the first time in four years.

“Looking ahead, trading momentum has been maintained through October, with customers responding positively to our Christmas ranges.

“There will be challenges and headwinds in the year ahead and progress won’t be linear, but we are ambitious for future growth and are driving what is in our control,” he said.